Seeking Alpha

The White House's $1B+ attempt to build an industry of companies that make batteries for...

The White House's $1B+ attempt to build an industry of companies that make batteries for electric vehicles is going flat. Firms have few clients and operate well below capacity, and their futures are in doubt. A major problem is that the government gave grants that were linked to production timetables which weren't tied to demand.
From other sites
Comments (21)
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30232) | Send Message
     
    Actually it was $2 billion, but what's chump change between cronies.
    http://seekingalpha.co...
    31 May 2012, 07:56 AM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (8701) | Send Message
     
    Sorry Mr. Obama,

     

    Mao and the Soviet Politburo proved that centrally planned economies ALWAYS fail.

     

    Free markets are inherently superior.
    31 May 2012, 07:56 AM Reply Like
  • davidingeorgia
    , contributor
    Comments (2713) | Send Message
     
    "A major problem is that the government gave grants that were linked to donor lists from the president's 2008 campaign and included production timetables which weren't tied to anything even vaguely resembling reality."

     

    There. Fixed it for you.
    31 May 2012, 08:02 AM Reply Like
  • youngman442002
    , contributor
    Comments (5131) | Send Message
     
    But its a great time to get some more free money...if I was one of the companies :::I would call the DNC and say I am going broke and will shut down in late October if I don´t get another XXXXX$ from the government....easy money...
    31 May 2012, 08:04 AM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS-2.0
    , contributor
    Comments (525) | Send Message
     
    Immelt got his money fron the AONE ipo. Obama got his uaw votes.

     

    Mission accomplished.
    31 May 2012, 08:08 AM Reply Like
  • Hubert Biagi
    , contributor
    Comments (703) | Send Message
     
    Didn't Fisker just announce it is considering going off-shore to build it's latest model?
    31 May 2012, 08:12 AM Reply Like
  • brotherkenny
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Importing oil at $1B a day is still the way to go. The patriotic car companies know this. So do the fake news outlets. Oil will never run out as long as we are willing to pay more as it get harder to recover. This means higher profits for the oil companies too, so invest in oil and then shill on the blogs for oil. Greed is the true patriotism, and God is for oil.
    31 May 2012, 09:12 AM Reply Like
  • jakurtz
    , contributor
    Comments (1940) | Send Message
     
    Brotherkenny, I too hate what the industrial revolution fueled by energy did for modern society. The way even our poor live like Kings compared to other non-industrialized nations as well as all people who lived 100 years ago is absolutely repugnant. Please someone kill oil and capitalism it has made everyone's life awful over the past half-century.
    [end sarcasm]
    31 May 2012, 09:49 AM Reply Like
  • Cwaggy1
    , contributor
    Comments (17) | Send Message
     
    A bad idea remains a bad idea no matter how much money is thrown at it.
    31 May 2012, 09:50 AM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4277) | Send Message
     
    (AONE) is getting very close to it's all time lows, and shows little sign of stopping the downward spiral. It is just about set to join the ever growing list of failed Obama stocks.
    31 May 2012, 10:25 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4042) | Send Message
     
    Building an entirely new industry from scratch is going to require time. But flat? There's an exaggeration.

     

    Over the last 3 years multiple pure electric vehicles have entered the market, along with battery hybrids. The Prius, currently the worlds 3rd best selling vehicle, sold less than a thousand units in its debut year and was roundly ridiculed.

     

    The fact is, 10 years ago you couldn't operate a battery powered lawnmower since the battery technology sucked. 10 years ago, 10hrs on a charge for a laptop was science fiction. Battery process technology has increased by leaps and bounds.

     

    10 years from now everything we use will have advanced batteries, and the initiative to get in on the ground floor will be roundly applauded.
    31 May 2012, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4277) | Send Message
     
    kmi - I think the point is that that government should not be picking the winners and losers, not that battery tech will not advance.

     

    If you look at the major battery innovations in the past 10 years or so, pretty much all of the major advances have come from privately funded companies, very little from government funded ones.
    31 May 2012, 10:54 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4042) | Send Message
     
    Excuse me Windsun,

     

    but government always picks winners and losers, it is its role by definition.

     

    Many very strong initiatives have been funded in precisely this manner, including Tesla and Ford.

     

    The fact is that without significant investment in battery R & D the innovations, technology, and production will certainly end up in the hands of foreign nations.

     

    For example, the Wankel Rotary engine, an american invention, perfected, and marketed only by Mazda.

     

    Just as an aside:
    Do you believe the initiative in this market current here
    http://seekingalpha.co...
    would ever happen on the battery technology of the last decade (lead-acid)?
    31 May 2012, 11:00 AM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4277) | Send Message
     
    "..the innovations, technology, and production will certainly end up in the hands of foreign nations. .."

     

    And one might ask why that is so.

     

    The US at one time was by far the leader in innovation, patents, etc. But over the past few years more and more private money has been moving those sectors overseas. I did not fact check it, but CNN said a few days ago that R&D investment in the US was at a 60 year low percentage.

     

    While the government has ramped up it's picking where to "invest", it also appears at the same time to be stifling private sector investments, which in general have a much better track record.

     

    Europe has a long history of government "investment" - yet with a population roughly equal to the US, it gets fewer new patents than Japan does, with a much lower population.
    31 May 2012, 11:20 AM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS-2.0
    , contributor
    Comments (525) | Send Message
     
    The Wankel Rotary was a total failure.

     

    As measured by efficiency (MPG), durability, emissions and power curve (torque) characteristics.

     

    Mazda was the only one stupid enough to stick with it as long as they did.

     

    RX-8 is now being discontinued.

     

    At least Mazda wasted their own money on it.

     

    Not that of Mine , my Children & Grandchildren.
    31 May 2012, 05:01 PM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (8701) | Send Message
     
    Please point out in the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights where it says that the government's role "by definition" is to pick winners and losers?
    31 May 2012, 11:53 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4042) | Send Message
     
    DeepValue, perhaps you should take an introductory course on politics at your local community college.
    1 Jun 2012, 08:51 AM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (8701) | Send Message
     
    Why?

     

    I'm right. I should be TEACHING the course.
    1 Jun 2012, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4042) | Send Message
     
    I disagree but rather than be bogged down with technicalities I'll point at absorption chillers as yet another US innovation which ended up offshore. And there are countless others. Someone needs to make a point of keeping innovation here.
    31 May 2012, 08:42 PM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4277) | Send Message
     
    With the current investment climate in the US right now (and the past 10 years or so), I see little reason for any of those innovative products to be produced here.

     

    While much of the blame is placed on the Federal government, there are also thousands of local/state problems to contend with also. There are projects in California that have been in the permitting stage for so long that the original applications have Teddy Roosevelts signature on them :D
    1 Jun 2012, 08:39 AM Reply Like
  • JohnInMA
    , contributor
    Comments (45) | Send Message
     
    Absorption chillers are not new nor novel. Fueling them has received some new attention. But were they invented in the U.S.? For what it's worth there are a fair number of installed systems in the U.S., and there are a few trials using them in a solar driven network, essentially delivering solar cooling/air conditioning. Worldwide the effort to make solar cooling work has been ongoing for over a decade, with a big effort at one time in Israel.
    1 Jun 2012, 03:18 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Tools
Find the right ETFs for your portfolio:
Seeking Alpha's new ETF Hub
ETF Investment Guide:
Table of Contents | One Page Summary
Read about different ETF Asset Classes:
ETF Selector